Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tai Chi Tony

Yesterday I left the sanctity of the Scottish Borders and headed for London, for a couple of days, on the route of the Flying Scotsman, courtesy of GNER. It was great timing because my friend Tony Visconti arrived at the weekend from New York, where he lives, and so we were able to have dinner together last night. Tony, apart from being a great guy is someone that I’ve written with - I helped him with his autobiography that came out in February. Tony is recording the Jools Holland TV show tonight and in the middle of dinner he said. “I’m 63 tomorrow which is why when I was offered some dates for Jools I picked April 24th – I thought it was a good way to celebrate. Not that anyone else is even aware.” I‘d completely overlooked it.

You’d never think that Tony is that age, he’s very fit and mentally he’s ten years younger – at least. Part of the reason he’s so fit is that Tony is a devotee of Tai Chi. He’s been doing it for years and has become very advanced in his understanding of this martial art; in New York he practices with Lou Reed. He was telling me that yesterday he had a special lesson in London with a seventy-five year old Tai Chi master teacher. He expalined how it still amazes him that a guy like that, just over 5ft tall, can send him spinning backwards across the room with what seems like the minimum of effort. Tony has diabetes and he uses Tai Chi to help control it, along with watching what he eats, and he manages in this way to avoid the usual drugs that people have to take. When Tony stayed with us last year, while we were working on the book, he did his exercises for an hour every morning on the deck of our barn. I’m sure people driving by probably thought, they’ve got another strange one staying – Tai Chi is not big in the Borders. Having said that someone told me that there is a class in Duns and so I’m minded to look into it; although I’ve said it before so it remains to be seen whether I actually do.

Today's blog is being bought to you courtesy of Wi-Fi. It still amazes me how brilliant all this technology is. When I first had the internet, about 16 years ago, with the 14K dial up modem I scarcely imagined, like probably everyone else, how we would advance. Back then I thought sending an email was pretty cool. When Tony and I were working on the book we would video conference to talk things through, change what had been written and work on things in general. It amazes me that I can sit in the Lammermuir Hills and chat with Tony in his apartment in Manhattan watching him, watching me, while making the whole process of writing the book so much easier.


r morris said...

Good day, Richard. My seventy-six year old mother, who has Parkinsons Disease, does Tai Chi as well. Hard to picture a little old lady doing Tai Chi, but she insists that the movements are slow and rebuild the nerve and muscle memory required to keep her from degenerating as fast.

Ellee said...

I'm delighted that Tai Chi has helped your friend control his diabetis. I went to San Francisco once and saw women doing this in the park, it looked so enjoyabale and relaxing. And I can never forget the women from Calendar Girls doing Tai Chi on the mountain top.

I'm soon off to London for the evening, I hope you have a good birthday celebration.

I have reciprocated the blog link, btw. Many thanks.